Legal Guide

Can You Place Value on a Life in a Wrongful Death Claim?

As anyone who has ever lost a loved one can tell you, there is no amount of money in the world that can fill the hole that their absence has left in your life. However, those left behind must find a way to move on. In many cases, such as when the loved one who passed was the primary earner in the family, the financial difficulties resulting from the loss of life can be hard to get past.

After losing a loved one, money may seem unimportant, but the practical side of our nature will look towards survival moving forward. This may very well require financial assistance. Many people struggle with the whole idea of filing a wrongful death claim. They feel it cheapens their loved one to try to put a monetary value on their life.

It is important to remember that your departed wouldn't want your life to fall apart as a result of the loss of their own, and that the claim could have implications of justice beyond financial compensation.

Why Should I File a Wrongful Death Claim?

Even if you are well off financially and do not need the money from a wrongful death claim, filing one can still be important. The claim is about justice. If someone you loved died due to the carelessness or negligence of another person or company, the responsible party should be held accountable. Filing a wrongful death claim against them can help to do that in many ways. These include:

Hurting Them Financially

If the responsible party was a business, then a big hit to their balance sheets is one of the best ways to ensure more responsible behavior in the future. Big businesses are often more concerned with the bottom-line than they are with any human cost of big business.

If you can make the financial impact of their negligence more expensive than any costs they may have been saving by cutting corners, then they are likely to implement stronger safety measures in the future.

Ensuring They Understand What They Did Wrong

This may be the hardest thing to achieve when filing a wrongful death claim against a big corporation. Business and morality rarely coexist in these environments. However, we can always hope that our voices will be heard if we make enough noise. Silence will change nothing.

Informing the Public of Their Culpability

Filing a wrongful death suit can help to draw the public’s attention to the situation. This is especially true in cases where there were multiple deaths due to negligence either in a single instance or spread out over a period of time. When this happens, the wrongful death claims are bundled together in a class-action lawsuit.

Drawing the Attention of Government Agencies to Unsafe Practices

By filing a wrongful death claim against a company in the event of negligence and unsafe practices, you will help to alert government agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and possibly the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of any misconduct. These agencies can level heavy penalties against companies that violate their duty to safety under the law.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

Your eligibility to file a full value of life claim depends on a variety of factors. The first right of filing goes to the spouse with damages split equally between the spouse and any surviving children. If there is no surviving spouse, the right transfers to the children. In cases with no surviving spouse or children, the right is transferred to the parents of the deceased.

In cases with no surviving spouse, children, or parents, the right transfers to the estate administrator who may file a claim in the name of the deceased's next of kin.

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